The high point for Wilde Lake during the Wildecats' 67-42 loss to Northern of Calvert County in the Class 3A, East Region final yesterday came with 5: 10 left in the first half.
That's when the rebuilt, youthful Wildecats held a 21-19 lead over a veteran Northern opponent that had lost to Wilde Lake in double overtime in last season's region final and was expected to crush the Wildecats this season.
But as was typical of the up-and-down season the Wildecats (13-12) have experienced, that high suddenly crashed in the form of a 22-0 run by Northern (24-2), a stretch during which Wilde Lake missed 14 straight shots.
When the run finally ended on two free throws by sophomore Sara Taliano (13 points) with 3: 35 left in the third period, Wilde Lake trailed, 41-23.
"We could have done better this season, but most people didn't think we'd do as well as we did," said Taliano, whose eight points in the first quarter helped erase a 7-0 Northern lead. "We stayed with them in the first half, but were sluggish in the third quarter. We were unlucky with injuries and other stuff this year."
Wilde Lake lost starting point guard Nina Jackson to a knee injury late in the season, and then lost back-up point guard Sarah Hobart with a hamstring pull during a playoff game against City. They also had two starters dismissed from the team before the playoffs for disciplinary reasons.
Coach Kelly Storr started freshman Kelly Thomas at point guard against Northern, and the Wildecats made just three turnovers in the first quarter. They finished with the same number of turnovers as Northern, however, 29.
Shooting accuracy was the biggest difference in the game. Northern shot 45 percent (28-for-62). The Wildecats, who took nearly as many shots because of their strong rebounding, shot 27 percent (16-for-60).
Junior center Bry Herring (18 points, 13 rebounds) led Wilde Lake in scoring and rebounding. Melissa Whiltshire scored six points and had 11 rebounds.
"It was mentally tough knowing how good they were going to be," Herring said. "We rushed a lot and didn't settle down, but we were on a roll the last couple of games."
Northern started three seniors and was led by Jen Mitchel's 29 points. Mitchel, who averages 20 points, scored 12 during Northern's 22-0 run. The Patriots returned four starters from last season.
Class 3A North
No. 10 Milford Mill 66, Fallston 60: The host Millers (22-4) won their second straight region title, but it took a blistering final minute and a half to do it.
With 1: 56 left, the Millers (22-4) found themselves in a 58-58 tie with the surprising Cougars (14-8). Then, the Millers finally took control, playing by far their best defense of the game. Mandy Clark and Kristen Smith had two steals each to spark an 8-0 run.
Clark converted both of her steals, the second on a spectacular spin move across the baseline for a 64-58 edge with 1: 11 to go. Quante Toney's two free throws completed Milford's scoring.
At UMBC Fieldhouse
Meade vs. Suitland, 3 p.m.
Western vs. Frederick, 5 p.m.
Northern of Calvert vs. DuVal, 7 p.m.
Milford Mill vs. Wheaton, 9 p.m.
Parkside vs. Central, 3 p.m.
North East vs. Urbana, 5 p.m.
Cambridge-South Dorchester vs. Glenelg, 7 p.m.
Hereford vs. Allegany, 9 p.m.
Class 2A, 1 p.m.
Class 4A, 3 p.m.
Class 1A, 6 p.m.
Class 3A, 8 p.m.
Pub Date: 3/07/99